Goodyear 'hostages' freed at French plant

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AMIENS, France (Jan. 7, 2014) — Two Goodyear Dunlop Tires France executives being held captive for two days by workers at the company's plant in Amiens have been freed.

The workers and management at the plant have been at loggerheads over the future of the factory for the past four years. Goodyear wants to close or sell the facility, which makes passenger and farm tires.

The workers, members of the CGT labor union, reportedly released the hostages — identified as Michel Dheilly, director of production at the factory and Bernard Glesser, head of the site's human resources department — under pressure from local authorities and the police.

Goodyear reportedly told the workers it refused to talk with them until the executives were released.

CGT leaders said the union now plans to occupy the plant, according to statements made at an impromptu press conference Jan. 6.

Goodyear first notified workers at the plant of its intention to scale it back in 2009 and then issued a definitive closure notice last year after failing to negotiate a new deal with the union or find a buyer for the plant along with its European farm tire business.

That decision led to violent clashes between workers and police at the factory and at Goodyear's local headquarters.The CGT is suing Goodyear in Ohio common pleas court in Akron over its plans to close the factory.

At stake are nearly 1,200 jobs.

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